I’m Not An #Expert on Anything – I’m a #Writer – No Rules Required

For my blog stop, I’ve chosen a previous blog which I felt is timeless and that expresses who I am as a writer, completely. 

I hope you enjoy it!

quote-advice-to-a-new-writer-there-are-no-rules-in-this-profession-do-what-is-good-for-you-anne-rice-122-70-88

And that’s good enough for me.

I tell stories. I have a few awards so I suppose that means I don’t suck at writing. However, even with six novels and a novella to my credit, as well as hundreds of blog posts, I do not nor would I ever call myself an expert in anything. Nor would I dare to offer advice on the best way to do this or that, simply based on my own experience. I worked hard and I wrote from my heart, soul and gut. I was published. I went from being a writer to an author in the span of less than a year. How did I do it?

I wrote. I focused on my goals and did it my own way. That’s exactly how you should do it too; regardless of what your own way is. Just please, the only rule I stand by 100% is EDITING. If you are transitioning from writer to author and actually publishing a novel, pay someone to edit for you. Please, for all our sake’s.

Every situation is different. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve learned from each and every one; some bigger lessons than others. Regardless of what writing technique you use or formula you choose to follow, if you don’t approach that formula with a positive attitude and maintain the ground rules firmly at the heart of it with honesty and humility, you can really end up unhappy with the results of your work. Try it your own way first! Experiment! You may be creating a formula that only works for you and that’s perfect!

Every time I begin a new project that will hopefully evolve into a novel, my knees knock, my mouth waters, my heart races and hands tremble. That my friends is fear – fear I’ll write fifty thousand words and suddenly decide I’m unhappy with the story. Fear that my loyal readers will not like the behavior of my characters and even my main character. Fear that a beloved character may die a horrible death and my readers will wish the same for me…figuratively of course.

NEWS FLASH: Readers will love your story and readers will hate your story and it really has nothing to do with you. How they feel is about their own taste and that’s fine. 🙂 That’s how it should be! 

  • Do you outline your book?
  • What kind outline? Detailed or more like a guideline? 
  • Do you just let your characters lead the way and pray they aren’t taking you down the rabbit hole?

I would never presume to tell anyone what is right and what is wrong with how they approach a project. Doing what you are comfortable with and what you see as a plan and system you can live with and work well with is to me, far more important than following some text book guideline laid down by someone or someones who think they are the expert.

I’m not an expert on anything – I’m a writer. I ONLY want to be a writer when I write. I don’t want to offer you advice, let you cry on my shoulder and most importantly, I won’t tell you how you should do anything. My experience is mine. Go get yours. Don’t be be afraid to spread your wings and fly!

“On giving writers advice, offering “rules.” I’m asked a lot about this, and people bring great lists of rules for writers to the page all the time. What do I think? I can’t say it loud enough. There are NO RULES for all writers! And never let anyone tell you that there are. Writers are individuals; we each do it in our own way. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not a “real” writer because you don’t follow their rules! I can’t tell you how much harm was done to me early in life by others judging me in that way. I was told in college I wasn’t a “real” writer because I composed on a typewriter; I was condemned later on in damn near apocalyptic terms for “not writing every day.” “Real writers” are those who become “real writers.” That’s all there is to it. And again, we each do it in our own way. For me, stubbornness has been as important as any talent I might possess. I ultimately ignored the people who condemned me, ridiculed me and sought to discourage me. I laughed or cried over it in secret; and went right on writing what I wanted to write, the way I wanted to write it. I knew of no other way to become the writer of my dreams. If you want to be a writer, go for it. Critics are a dime a dozen, and people who would love to see you fail are everywhere. Just keep on going; keep doing what works for you. Keep believing in yourself.” ANNE RICE

I’d listen to this woman before I’d listen to anyone else. She’s 100% right.

Advertisements

#Writers and/or #Authors, Is There Anything You Won’t Write About?

tied-hands

Recently this issue reared it’s ugly head. I say ugly head because I believe sometimes we need to get dirty in order to tell a story with as much truth as it deserves. Just to clarify, it wasn’t me who was concerned but a fellow writer. They prefer not to use profanity, or sex or other more sensitive topics and issues within their stories. I, on the other hand, tend to lean towards whatever the story requires in order to move it forward and well, whatever it takes…just tell the damn story.

  • Do you allow your personal feelings about these elements to keep you from pushing the boundaries in order to not violate some sacred or self imposed oath you’ve made?
  • Are you afraid of what Mary Jo at PTA will say when she sees the F word in your book?
  • Do you allow the judgments of others to hold you back from expressing yourself?
  • Are some subjects just too taboo for you to touch?
  • Would you use a different pen name if you had to in order to protect yourself out of fear that someone you know might raise an eyebrow?

There are all brands of writers. If you enjoy writing books that are cozy and comfortable, I applaud you. That’s your lane and you’re comfortable in it. This post isn’t about you. You’re fine doing what you love and most likely, your audience loves you for these sweet stories. This post is for those who hold back from pushing a readers buttons or fears some sort of backlash if they explore new subject matter or God forbid, a character does something bad.

Just to clarify again, I have authored two book series’ that couldn’t be more different. They are both Historical Fiction but one is a family saga / paranormal and the other is about the Golden Age of Piracy. One story explores love, relationships, spirituality and faith while the other delves into the dark, dank and seedy atmosphere of piracy, murder and every other awful thing you can imagine. I know deep down that I haven’t fully explored myself as a writer and in truth, I have no reservations about digging deeper and I already have a story on my imagination radar that will push my limits even further.

The point I’m making is there are plenty of wonderful, wholesome and clean books out there. My Fireflies series are two good examples of that. Although they explore relationships and adult subject matter, it is written as to how a family in a small town in 1800’s Pennsylvania would experience it. Then at the opposite end of the bookshelf, are my pirate tales. Violence, foul language, sexual situations, objectification of women, rape, murder, thievery and abuse are prevalent throughout. I’m not afraid of that. I’m not afraid when my characters are evil just as I’m not afraid when my characters are good. They reflect the era and environment in which they are written. I love Jack Sparrow but he’s about as much of a real pirate as I am.

I don’t believe what we write is any indication of our own personal moral compass. Writing is a journey in exploration of one’s imagination. Writing what we know is a proven myth, except when it comes to our characters. Just as Anne Rice has never personally interviewed nor experienced real vampires and Stephen King hasn’t encountered Giant, prehistoric insects or lived in an extra-terrestrial dome, we imagine these tales. What we hold onto throughout them are the players. People are people, whether they live in a galaxy far far away or in a world where by an unlucky draw from a fish bowl, they have to fight in a game for their lives to feed their families. Writing about pirates doesn’t make me one any more than killing off main characters book after book makes George R.R. Martin a murderer. However, that’s what makes being a writer the most wonderful and tantalizing craft!

What if Mary Shelley had created her monster like this?

Sully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or Bram Stoker’s Dracula like this?

sparkle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay strike that…I kinda liked Twilight but you know what I’m saying.

Now what say you?

What is OFF LIMITS?

What is it?

What’s holding you back?

 

better